Hypersaline environments around the world are dominated by archaea and their viruses. To date, very little is known about these viruses and their interaction with the host strains when compared to bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We performed the first culture-dependent temporal screening of haloarchaeal viruses and their hosts in the saltern of Samut Sakhon, Thailand, during two subsequent years (2009, 2010). Altogether we obtained 36 haloarchaeal virus isolates and 36 archaeal strains, significantly increasing the number of known archaeal virus isolates. Interestingly, the morphological distribution of our temporal isolates (head-tailed, pleomorphic, and icosahedral membrane-containing viruses) was similar to the outcome of our previous spatial survey supporting the observations of a global resemblance of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses. Myoviruses represented the most abundant virus morphotype with strikingly broad host ranges. The other viral morphotypes (siphoviruses, as well as pleomorphic and icosahedral internal membrane-containing viruses) were more host-specific. We also identified a group of Halorubrum
strains highly susceptible to numerous different viruses (up to 26). This high virus sensitivity, the abundance of broad host range viruses, and the maintenance of infectivity over a period of one year suggest constant interplay of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses within an extreme environment.
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